Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, delivered a blow to the pro-mail-in voting crowd this week when he said that he sees “no reason” people should not vote in-person come November if people practice proper social distancing guidelines.
“I think if carefully done, according to the guidelines, there’s no reason that I can see why that not be the case,” Fauci told Deborah Roberts of ABC News, later adding, “If you go and wear a mask, if you observe the physical distancing, and don’t have a crowded situation, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do that.”
Though Fauci advised at-risk people and the physically weak to stay home and use mail-in voting, he nonetheless emphasized that “there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to vote in person or otherwise.”
As noted by Fox News, Fauci’s endorsement of in-person voting is markedly different from what he said back in April. “I can’t guarantee it,” he told CNN at the time.
President Trump and his campaign have adamantly opposed mail-in voting, alleging that it offers too many opportunities for fraud. The Biden campaign, on the other hand, has endorsed the practice as contributing to public health safety.
“The President of the United States is sabotaging a basic service that hundreds of millions of people rely upon,” Rapid Response Director Andrew Bates said on Thursday, “cutting a critical lifeline for rural economies and for delivery of medicines, because he wants to deprive Americans of their fundamental right to vote safely during the most catastrophic public health crisis in over 100 years — a crisis so devastatingly worsened by his own failed leadership that we are now the hardest-hit country in the world by the coronavirus pandemic.”
“Even Donald Trump’s own campaign has endorsed voting by mail and his own administration has conclusively refuted his wild-eyed conspiracy theories about the most secure form of voting,” Bates continued. “This is an assault on our democracy and economy by a desperate man who’s terrified that the American people will force him to confront what he’s done everything in his power to escape for months — responsibility for his own actions.”
In late July, Fauci delivered a rare dose of optimism when he said he does not think the United States needs to implement a lockdown again.
“I don’t think we need to go to lockdown again and shelter in place,” Fauci told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “There are situations, as I’ve mentioned to you before, in multiple interviews, where, when they were trying to open up a state or a city, that there were certain guidelines that were skipped over. Maybe you’re in phase two, and you need to pause and maybe go back to phase one. That’s entirely conceivable and may be recommended.”
Though some regions and cities may need to look at going back to phase one, Fauci did not believe that would be true across the country if people followed five principles: wearing a mask, keeping physical distance, avoiding bars, keeping good hand hygiene, and avoiding large crowds.
“I don’t think we need to go all the way back to lockdown,” he continued. “And the reason I say that is that we’re learning more and more. If you do five fundamental principles, in any situation, one, wear a mask all the time, consistently, when you’re outside, and can be exposed. Number two, keep physical distance. Number three, avoid bars or close bars if you can. Keep away from crowds, big congregations, and maintain hand hygiene.”
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